LARC NEWS Posted: 12/19/2020 10:42:02 PM



          Connie Nutt and Turner Farms’ talented Jess Macho Corona scored his first career victory after outdueling Martha Wells’ Red Hawk Cartel to win the Grade 3, $25,000 First Down Dash Handicap for 3-year-olds and upward at 400 yards on Sunday at Los Alamitos.

          The Turner Farms-bred runner has always performed admirably at the highest level, running second in the Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity during his juvenile season in 2018 and also running second in both the 2019 Grade 1 All American Derby and second in the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity earlier this year. He even finished second while facing older foes in last year’s First Down Dash Handicap. Yet, for all of his strong efforts in major stakes races, a first-place finish had eluded him at the stakes level. That is until Saturday night. With the great Quarter Horse jockey/trainer combo of Ramon Sanchez and Paul Jones on his side, Jess Macho Corona picked up his fifth career win in 23 starts while outdueling Red Hawk Cartel by a neck in a time of :19.873. Jess Macho Corona has hit the board in 17 of those outings while his first place share of the purse of $13,750 takes his lifetime earnings to $659,788.

          “He got a good break and finished nicely,” Jones said. “He did everything right. He was second by a whisker in the All American Derby and has qualified to a lot of great races. It’s good to get a stakes win.”

          Jones’ victory in this race takes him to 452 stakes victories nationally. His 450th came with Ballast Point in the Trick Or Treat Handicap on Halloween Night of this year. At Los Alamitos, Jones has won 339 stakes races, the second highest total in the track’s history.

          Winning rider Ramon Sanchez is also nearing a record, as his winning rider on Jess Macho Corona provided him with his 147th career stakes win at Los Alamitos. He is now six stakes wins away from tying Eddie Garcia for the all-time mark at the Orange County oval. Sanchez has ridden sparingly at Los Alamitos this year, this was only his 26th Quarter Horse mount of the meet and his second overall win, however he is confident that bigger years are ahead.

          “It feels good to add another stakes win,” he said. “I’m hoping that next year I can get Eddie’s record. I just came back to ride and next year I’ll be back stronger.”

          Sanchez was the leading Quarter Horse rider at Los Alamitos in 2001, 2002, and 2003. He also owns the record for most Quarter Horse wins in a single season with 220 victories in 2002. Many of those wins came wearing the silks of trainer Paul Jones.

         “Ramon can get it,” Jones said. “He had a sciatic nerve problem that slowed him down and needed time off this year. I’m hoping to have a stronger barn next year and we can help him get the record.”

          With Luis Valenzuela up for trainer Matt Fales, Red Hawk Cartel earned $5,625 for his runner-up effort. The 4-year-old horse by Favorite Cartel has finished first or second in 12 of 26 of his lifetime outings.

          Hugo Barron-Sierra’s Marfilmio finished third in only his second local start. He made his first California when sixth in the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trials. The Ivory James horse earned $3,125 for his third-place finish. Rite Quick, Corona Jumpin MRL and Cartel Rocks completed the field.


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